A new aircraft currently in development.
Based on the F-35 Lightning, but modified with the aerodynamic surfaces of a Chengdu J-20 and early F-35 concepts.
The MFDs have been replaced with a large touchscreen, and a cockpit modeled after the F-35.
Lift Fan and VTOL Modes Edit
Manual VTOL (AV-42C) Edit
The left thumb stick controls the nozzle tilt. The lift fan doors and flaps are managed automatically. The HUD displays the tilt of the nozzles. Afterburner is disabled at any nozzle down angle, and thrust will be automatically managed between the lift fan and main engine. The lift fan door incrementally opens and reaches its fully open position at 20 degrees nozzle tilt. There is currently no speed lock preventing these functions from being activated.
RCS and flaps are automatically controlled.
This auto pilot mode eases the workload in the transition between wing-borne and jet-borne flight. The idea is that, the throttle controls forward and aft acceleration with the middle setting being zero acceleration. Pitch controls change in altitude. The computer will decide what is needed to achieve that depending on where in the flight envelope the plane is. For example, at low speeds altitude is changed by varying engine thrust, while at high speeds the computer opts to vary nose attitude. Pulling back on the stick doesn't explicitly mean "pitch up". Forward acceleration is accomplished by tilting the plane like a helicopter at low speeds, or changing nozzle tilt and thrust at high speeds.
VCAP will not activate unless the TWR is above a certain amount.
- Turn VCAP on and center the throttle. This ensures the plane will lift straight up.
- Pull the stick back to 'pitch up'. Notice that the engine will spool up and the plane will ascend.
- Push the throttle forward to begin accelerating forward. Notice the aircraft initially pitch down like a helicopter. With increasing speed the nose becomes more level, and the computer uses nozzle tilt more.
- At around 80kts, VCAP stops feeling like a helicopter and more like a plane. While pulling the stick back to increase altitude still spools up the engine, the aircraft starts to pitch up. The middle throttle position also tends to hold this speed, but its around the upper limit.
- At around 120kts, VCAP will rapidly start to rotate the nozzle to accelerate faster which tends to override the middle throttle position. The lift fan door will start closing to decrease drag, and because the burden of providing lift shifts over to the wing.
- When VCAP is finished to transitioning to wing-borne flight, afterburner and full roll authority is restored.
Vertical Landing Edit
This auto pilot mode also helps the pilot perform the carrier vertical landings similar to those by the AV-8B Harrier and F-35 Lightning II. Patterns are similar to aircraft carrier recovery patterns, but the meatball and glide slope terminate in a hover stop next to the carrier. The plane then crosses over to hover above the landing spot. Finally, the plane descends.
In VTOL VR, the middle throttle position will hold 50kts which allows the aircraft to fly stationary relative to a moving vessel. When descending, the autopilot will choose a safe vertical speed.
Internal Bays Edit
There are 4 internal bays with 2 hard points each. A hard point can usually hold a single weapon such as a missile or bomb, with the exception of a rack of GBU-39s.
The actuation of the internal bay doors changes behavior depending on the weapon type selected.
- When IR missiles are selected, the side bay doors are always open. This is allows the IR missile rack to swing out of the bay so the seeker can see forward. This also means that only the side internal bay racks can hold IR missiles since only they have this ability.
- For bomb release, a double action fire control is used. Holding the trigger opens the bay doors, and the cycle weapon button acts as a release button.
- For other weapons where introducing a delay isn't a problem, pulling the trigger once automates the cycling of the bay doors and weapon release (AIM-120s, AGMs, etc).
Glass Cockpit UI Edit
On the F-45A there's one giant touch screen that can be divided into a maximum of 4 displays or a minimum of 2 displays. The arrows on the dividers of these collapse and expand them. Most pages are ported over from the MFDs of the other planes with modifications to work with touch screens. There are some pages unique to the F-45A.
Each window can be assigned a unique MFD page, which can be swapped out with the minimized pages by clicking on the corresponding tab. Tabs start off as BLANK by default and cannot be closed like an internet browser. BLANK tabs bring up the menu matrix when opened. Pressing a the tab will swap the places of the open and minimized window. For example, NAV will become minimized to to replace BLANK in the tab, and BLANK will be pulled up to show the menu.
Alternatively, tabs have an mini window form, allowing the display of widgets (currently only the TGP/EOTS and RWR). Otherwise, that window only shows the title of the page.
The SWAP button swaps left and right windows, and as a pair if there are multiple. This allows one to manage all windows with the left arm without needing to cross over the arm still holding the flight stick.
To prevent duplicates, the page opened in another window will be closed while bringing it over to the new window.
Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS) Edit
This controls what is essentially the F-45A's TGP. A notable new feature is that the EOTS can directly snap to a detected unit by using the TSD. This is simpler than managing several pages, such as the NAV and GPS for locking the TGP onto ground units.
Tactical Situation Display (TSD) Edit
This page integrates data normally fragmented across several pages to create a 360 degree top down tactical awareness display. Units are populated here when detected as they would appear in NAV, RADAR, ARAD, or through the TGP. A unit will flash and then disappear when there is no spotting information from onboard system or allies. The addition of the cursor allows units to be designated for use of other systems while maintaining awareness. This avoids needing to switch between Air-to Air or Air-to-Surface workflows.
Designating a Target Edit
Using the TSD cursor is similar to using the cursor on the RADAR page in the F/A-26B:
- Set the TSD as SOI and slew the cursor onto a target with the left thumb stick. The cursor will snap to a unit.
- Center press to designate the unit as a target. In TSD, a purple broken circle will surround the target. An info box will appear giving information about the aircraft such as bearing, range, and altitude.
- In the HUD, a green dotted circle will appear. This will hint if the target is air or ground.
- Pressing EOTS will snap the EOTS to that target (a more direct version of GPS-aquire for the TGP).
- The target is automatically used in other pages and systems.
Air Units and AIM-120s Edit
The TSD will automatically manage the radar page as part of the fire control chain. This means that the radar must at least be turned on, but the page does not have to be visible on any window.
- Designate a target.
- Fly the radar cone onto the target to allow it to lock on. On the RADAR page, the TSD will enter Single Target Tracking. On the HUD, a weapon engagement range bar will appear. The unit needs to be kept within the radar cone for the initial missile guidance.
Radar Emitters Edit
There is no ARAD page, and the TSD doesn't integrate that functions of that system.
Radar emitters all use the same symbol similar to the universal green diamond of the ARAD HUD. Therefore, the TSD screen doesn't immediately tells you if a radar emitter is a fighter or SAM site.
Surface Units Edit
Ground units appear as an orange triangle. The designated target needs to be sent to the EOTS first for initial acquisition, lasing, and ranging. This is immediately available for laser guidance, or CCRP. For GPS weapons, the EOTS page needs to be used to create a GPS point for the GPS weapon workflow.
Sea units appear as the NATO symbol for air and space units (an upside down "U" ). There may be overlap between the sea unit and its subsystems such as turrets and radar antennae.